Last week we took a look at the benefits manufacturers could reap by consolidating their CAD software. These benefits included easier design collaboration, better reuse of CAD models, higher productivity, greater corporate agility, lower IT costs, and faster response to market dynamics.
This week we’d like to take that idea one step further and discuss the benefits of consolidating on suites of engineering and design tools. Benefits of doing so include taking advantage of increased integration to boost efficiency, eliminating the need to translate CAD files, and maintaining design intent throughout the design process.
These advantages and more are outlined in a newly released research report by Tech-Clarity entitled, Consolidating Design Software: Extending the Value Beyond 3D CAD Consolidation. According to the report, consolidating CAD software is just the tip of the iceberg; companies can derive even greater benefits by consolidating all their design software.
Let’s take a look at some of the organizations can benefit from consolidating their design software.
Remove the design gaps. Concept models are often created in a standalone tool that creates a disconnect between the conceptual stage and the detailed design phase. Providing conceptual designers with digital sketching tools helps ensure that design intent is carried forward so the engineer doesn’t have to re-interpret and recreate the idea. This can prevent design gaps and miscommunications that can lead to errors downstream.
Common tools facilitate interoperability. Manufacturing engineers need design tools to design manufacturing layouts or tooling, but don’t, however, use CAD enough to justify the expense and time needed to learn how to use a fully featured, parametric CAD tool. As a result they often use 2D or simpler 3D tools, which often leads to another disconnect in the way data moves downstream, leading to errors and quality problems.
Using detailed designs in manufacturing eliminates the vast amount of time wasted recreating, translating and healing data for downstream use. To do so, however, manufacturing engineers need simpler tools, as do those downstream departments, such as service and installation personnel.
Dealing with the supply chain. Extended supply chains and customers often dictate that companies must maintain the ability to operate in a multi-CAD environment. As a result, designs may need to be translated from different native CAD systems or may come in neutral (IGES, STEP) formats, which might convey only geometry with no design intent.
The good news is that design suites today offer capabilities, such as direct modeling, that make it much easier to adopt geometry from other systems and treat it as “native” data. With capabilities such as feature recognition, these systems are capable of adding intelligence back to “dumb” geometry.
Leveraging data downstream. Integrated design suites also greatly enhance a company’s ability to leverage 3D content downstream to provide data for product documentation and technical communications. This ability also provides companies with a competitive market advantage by developing highly compelling graphics for sales and marketing teams.
Reducing the IT headache. Companies waste a huge amount of time dealing with incompatible design data and systems. Recreating CAD data and dealing with translation problems is a common bottleneck in the design process for manufacturers. By consolidating vendors and tools across the enterprise, organizations can reduce costs significantly, including licenses, training, help desk, maintenance costs, integration expense, upgrades, and more.
What’s the ROI? The report also outlines a template ROI model to show potential savings of consolidating on a design suite. While the original Consolidating CAD report showed the equivalent of 23.3% of original license cost saved per year, or roughly 115% of maintenance, the value of consolidating across the design suite was closer to 300%. These higher cost savings are the result of reducing expenses across multiple CAD systems, including both vendor costs and internal expenses such as upgrades, help desk, training, and more.
To learn more about the benefits of consolidating your design tools, download the free Tech-Clarity report here.